Peter Pan Diner in Bay Shore goes up in flames, multiple departments respond

Officials say the fire started mainly in the kitchen at the location on Sunrise Highway around 1:40 a.m.

Caroline Flynn and Cecilia Dowd

Jul 2, 2024, 10:04 AM

Updated 22 days ago


Peter Pan Diner, a Bay Shore staple on the Sunrise Highway for the past 70 years, was damaged in a fire overnight. The Town of Islip said it did not appear to be suspicious.
Photo of the kitchen
Firefighters received the first calls about the blaze around 1:40 a.m. Owner Peter Lentzeres said crews went home at 11 p.m. after checking to make sure everything was turned off.
John Ippolito, an assistant chief of the Bay Shore Fire Department, told News 12 that the fire was in the kitchen when crews arrived.
“We had to force entry because the building was closed at night," he said.
Forcing their way inside wasn't the only hurdle firefighters encountered. Ippolito said that the Suffolk County Water Authority was in the process of fixing a previous water main break and had to turn off the water.
"Suffolk County Water Authority was working on a hydrant right across the street and they had to get that up and running and we had to find a hydrant three blocks away," he added.
The fire was contained to the kitchen, but there was smoke and water damage throughout the diner.
Word of the fire traveled fast through the community. Worried, loyal customers stopped by Tuesday morning to make sure everyone was OK.
"This means a lot to the community, they mean a lot to the community and to me, to the family," said Denis Singleton.
The Bohemia resident got emotional explaining why the diner has meant so much to his family.
"When my father passed away six years ago, [Lentzeres] helped us. So I came here today to support him,” he said.
Even the firefighters working to put the fire out had ties to it.
"I remember coming here as a kid with my grandparents. The owners are family friends," he said.
Lentzeres was optimistic about getting back to business soon.
"Hopefully the insurance works out, everything gets replaced and you know, I'm 65 but I'm nowhere near ready to give this up because I love it, it's my life."
The goal is to reopen in a few weeks.
Multiple fire departments helped to contain the fire including West Islip, Islip, East Islip, Brentwood, Islip Terrace, West Sayville, Deer Park and the Bay Shore-Brightwaters Rescue Ambulance Company.
"It's a great place, the center of the universe around here," said Joe Bacchi, a West Islip resident and patron of Peter Pan Diner.
Customer Don Kitson eats at the diner regularly with a group of people and said, " We’re retired from the courts, and we meet and discuss problems of the world."
Erin Daly, of Lindenhurst, said she's been going to the Peter Pan Diner for 35 years.
"When we come here, it’s home…I’m grateful to hear that they will rebuild," he says.

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